February 28, 1959 – March 9, 2022
Richard A. LoRusso passed away at his home March 9, 2022 with his wife, Terri, by his side. Born in St. Louis on February 28, 1959, to Joseph and Alberta Dickinson LoRusso, Rich attended Southwest High School and Forest Park Community College Culinary Arts Program.
Rich began cooking at Godfather’s Ristorante and the Mayfair Hotel. In 1986 he opened LoRusso’s restaurant with his wife and partner Terri, whom he had wisely married four years earlier, and his brother Tom. In three years, the restaurant was so successful it needed to move to its larger current location on Watson Road and became known as LoRusso’s Cucina.
As good as Rich was at feeding people, though, his gifts extended far beyond that. A true boniface, his welcome was warm, his restaurant comfortable. Concern for what guests wanted, and what they might want on future visits, led his thinking. Patrons picked up on that, and the number of loyal repeat guests was proof. Many of them considered Rich a friend as well.
In the hospitality industry his friends were legion, from chefs to bartenders, most of them with several stories about him working or playing. Often times, Rich would be heading up a group of chefs to do charity work. He led or participated in innumerable benefits, whether they were for his neighborhood, The Hill’s charitable activities or Operation Food Search, all the way up to national organizations like the March of Dimes. One particular favorite was the Second District Police Officer of the Year luncheon for which he provided food for more than twenty years, honoring people for whom he had great respect. In turn, they, along with many firemen and EMTs, showed up at the benefit, For the Love of the Chef organized for Rich and Terri in November, an event that sold out within minutes and had too many volunteers to use, including media people.
Rich was a big guy. One of the few things almost as big as his heart was his sense of humor. Who can forget him wearing his Fred Flintstone costume and flying along on the little Vespa motor scooter? He kept that sense of humor through his whole illness, acknowledging its seriousness but realizing that the balance of light and darkness is what makes one day follow another.
Rich is survived by his wife of 39 years, Terri Deming LoRusso, and his sons James LoRusso and Anthony (Shiori) LoRusso. He was the delighted nonno, or grandfather, to Leo, Luca and Lena and another soon-to-be-born grandson. He is also survived by his brothers Vince (Nancy) and Tom and sister-in-law, Sharon LoRusso. In addition, many nieces and nephews survive. He is also survived by a grateful community.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Joseph LoRusso, his sister Barbara LoRusso, and nephew Vincent LoRusso.
Rich, unsurprisingly, asked that his body be donated to benefit a search for the cure of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), his cause of death. His family will receive visitors at St. Ambrose Roman Catholic Church, 5130 Wilson Ave., Monday, March 28 from 4-8 p.m. A funeral mass will be held at St. Francis Xavier College Church, 3628 Lindell Blvd., Tuesday March 29, at 10 a.m.; visitation before the mass will begin at 9.00 a.m. and conclude at the start of the mass.
In lieu of flowers donations to the The Sick and Elderly Program of The Hill 2315 Macklind Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110 would be appreciated.
ARRANGEMENTS UNDER THE DIRECTION OF MICHEL FUNERAL HOME.